A project I’ve wanted to have a go at for ages – a play kitchen from an upcycled tv unit or bedside table. I gathered inspiration from some of the amazing projects you can find on the web and scoured gumtree and freecycle for a suitable bit of old furniture. My requirements were based on price (I wanted the whole project to cost less than a new ikea toy kitchen), size (the right height for a child, big enough to fit a sink and hob but not too big to fit in the gap in my kitchen where I want S and H to play peacefully while I’m making dinner!), and style (something with a combination of doors and shelves).
In the end I found this beauty – not so ugly as to be without potential, but charmless enough that I had no qualms about hacking it up.
The first step was to remove the door (it was a single door) and shelf and sand the varnish off.
I even got a little bit of help…
Next I replaced the shelf and added a frame of 2×1 to the front and sides of the shelved area. This served no practical purpose, I just thought it would look nicer. I used a jigsaw to cut a circular hole in the top of the unit to fit a metal dog bowl for the sink. I also cut the original door in half and removed a rectangular section in the centre of each to make them look more like oven doors. I drilled a large hole to fit an old bathroom tap that a friend kindly donated. Then I gave it all a coat of primer.
To avoid spending a fortune on paint I bought 1 small can of white water-based eggshell paint which I used for the top and inside of the shelved area. I mixed in some acrylic paint to create the yellow colour for the sides of the kitchen. Leftover blackboard paint was used to make a blackboard on one side, for the inside of the oven section, strips around the top and bottom and finally to paint two circles cut from an old cork tile to create the hob plates. Once it was painted I gave it all (except the blackboard) a coat of clear, matt polyurethane varnish.
Then for the finishing details:
- glueing the hob circles and sink bowl into place
- making, painting, varnishing and attaching the cooker knobs. I made them using a whole 50mm mdf disc with another cut in half glued on top. As I wanted them to be able to twizzle, I attached them by drilling holes through the worktop and attaching to a bolt.
- adding new handles (bought from a bargain store) to the oven doors.
- attaching pieces of clear plastic (from a folder) to the inside of the oven doors over the window sections.
- re-attaching the doors, with extra hinges and an extra magnetic door catch.
- adding curtains to the shelved area. I made the curtains using half a metre of Michael Miller’s ‘Into the forest’ fabric, threading them on to 1cm wide wooden dowelling which is held in place by two screw in hooks on the inside of the 2×1 frame.
Ta dah! I had far too much fun making this kitchen – there were moments of frustration – not being able to fit the doors back on because the hinges I happened to have were too chunky – the drill bit jamming etc., but really the most disappointing thing about the project is that now it’s finished, I can’t imagine a justification for making another one!